Last Updated On: July 13th, 2022
The SAT has released new documents related to the upcoming format change.
The educational world, including families of students testing after the change, has been watching the unfolding of the upcoming SAT change. With the beginning of the summer season, the SAT has given us some updates, so we are able to report the new information to you! If your student will be taking the SAT Spring 2024 or later, or if they will take the PSAT Fall 2023 or later, you may wish to be aware of the information available for the new test formatting. If so, read on!
Before we begin on the latest releases from the College Board, remember that much of the new information, as well as strategy and preparation tips, was released in our previous blogs SAT Goes Digital: Going deep into what we know about the next SAT change and SAT Goes Digital: Part 2. Reviewing the Highlights and Digging Deeper sections of SAT Goes Digital: Going deep into what we know about the next SAT change will help you see the characteristics of the new SAT structure and plan for success using that structure. Reviewing SAT Goes Digital: Part 2 will give you an overview of some of the previous College Board updates in a nicely readable format.
Now let’s look at the new material freshly released by the College Board in the documents: The Digital SAT® Suite of Assessments Specifications Overview, Digital SAT Sample Questions and Explanations, and Assessment Framework for the Digital SAT Suite. Some of the information released in these documents was already covered in our previous blogs, but we are now given more details and specific examples.
Of the three new publications on The Digital SAT Suite of Assessments page, this one is the most practical for most of us. Here is where the majority of the information that is useful for families preparing a student for the SAT/PSAT is found because this document focuses on the structure of the new format.
- The two sections, Reading and Writing and Math will be divided into two modules each, so each student will take four modules.
- There will be a 10-minute break between the Reading and Writing section and the Math section.
Reading and Writing
- The Reading and Writing modules will be 32 minutes long each, for a total of 64 minutes. The students will go directly from the first Reading and Writing module to the second one.
- Each Reading and Writing module will have 25 questions that count and 2 questions that do not. Previously students were given one experimental section that may have been a Reading or Writing section. This experimental section is replaced by the four “pretest” (uncounted) questions in the Reading and Writing modules.
- All questions in the Reading and Writing section are multiple choice with four possible answer choices.
- The average time per question in the Reading and Writing section is 1.19 minutes. Keeping in mind that this is an average, so some questions will take longer, and some questions will take less time.
- The Reading and Writing Modules will contain four categories of questions, which will always come in the same order.
- Craft and Structure- arranged from easiest to hardest
- Information and Ideas- arranged from easiest to hardest
- Standard English Conventions
- Expression of Ideas- arranged from easiest to hardest
- The Math modules will be 35 minutes long each, for a total of 70 minutes. The students will go directly from the first Math Writing module to the second one.
- Each Math module will have 20 questions that count and 2 questions that do not. Previously students were given one experimental section that may have been a Math section. This experimental section is replaced by the four “pretest” (uncounted) questions in the Math modules.
- Questions in the Math section are multiple choice with four possible answer choices or student produced responses. About 75% of the questions will be multiple choice and around 25% will be student produced responses.
- The average time per question in the Math section is 1.59 minutes. Keeping in mind that this is an average, so some questions will take longer, and some questions will take less time.
- The Math section will contain four categories of questions, which will be mixed together.
- Advanced Math
- Problem-Solving and Data Analysis
- Geometry and Trigonometry
- Each Math module will be organized with questions from easiest to hardest.
This document gives us our first officially published view of sample questions for the new format. Included are samples of all the content domains in the Reading and Writing and the Math sections. There are 15 Reading and Writing questions with details on their question types and full explanations of their answers. There are 18 Math questions with details on their question types and full explanations of their answers.
These questions are useful for understanding of the question types, particularly the new reading comprehension questions with only one question per short passage, and they are are a good reference for people who wish to see what the test questions will look like for different question categories. This document is not useful, however, for study or practice with the new format, but materials for that type of practice are anticipated shortly. The previously announced timeline for these was Fall 2022. In the meantime, the practice paper-based tests are still a fantastic resource for SAT/PSAT preparation until the College Board releases practice tests in the digital format.
This is the master document. Even though this publication can seem overwhelming, it has an amazing table of contents, which makes navigating it very workable. This document is extensive and covers the information from the other two documents and more because the other two are taken from the information in this framework. If you are looking for practical information on the structure and strategy of the test, you would be better off with the more focused documents that we covered earlier. If you are curious about the research and support for the changes that the College Board is making, this is a good place to start.
The revisions that the SAT is making are part of an ongoing effort to provide colleges with a standardized tool that they can use to compare different students from different academic backgrounds. (Read What do I Need to Know if I Want to go Standardized Test-Free? For a deeper look at this idea.) The College Board has had a rough past, as so many organizations have, but it has continued to revise its products to best address the goal of providing colleges with information that can be used to see student preparedness in a way that can be directly compared, student to student. The Assessment Framework presents the justifications behind the changes in this most recent revision cycle. Most people will not be particularly interested in this information, but if you are one of the exceptions, the College Board has released this more detailed document.
As we wait for the next release of information about the SAT Digital Suite, continue to read up on test and study related topics in our Educational Blog to keep sharp, and reach out for support if there is any way that we can support your educational goals!
Photo by Mikhail Nilov